General Yoga and Mindfulness Health Benefits

Harvard Health: Yoga for Stress, Anxiety and Depression Relief: Available reviews of a wide range of yoga practices suggest they can reduce the impact of exaggerated stress responses and may be helpful for both anxiety and depression. By modulating the stress response, yoga can reduce the heart rate, lower blood pressure, and ease respiration.

National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health: Yoga In Depth: This fact sheet provides basic information about yoga, summarizes scientific research on effectiveness and safety, and suggests sources for additional information.

American Osteopathic Association: The Benefits of Yoga: Like yoga, the osteopathic approach to wellness focuses on your body’s natural tendency toward health and self-healing. “The purpose of yoga is to create strength, awareness and harmony in both the mind and body,” explains Natalie Nevins, DO, a board-certified osteopathic family physician and certified Kundalini Yoga instructor in Hollywood, California.

Yoga Health Foundation: Health Benefits of Yoga Explained: This volunteer driven organization offers a national event directory as well as an extensive clearinghouse of evidence based studies detailing the benefits of yoga, from chromic back pain relief to stress management.

Wherever You Go, There You Are: Mindfulness Meditation in Everyday Life, John Kabat-Zinn: The founder of mindfulness-based meditation here describes different meditative practices and what they can do for the practitioner. The idea that meditation is “spiritual” is often confusing to people, Kabat-Zinn writes; he prefers to think of it as what you might call a workout for your consciousness.

Posture, Anatomy & Biomechanics

Harvard Health: Posture and Back Health: This bulleting explains how good posture means keeping the cervical, thoracic, and lumbar curves in balance and aligned, with weight distributed evenly over the feet. Seen from the side, your ear, shoulder top, hip, knee, and ankle should line up vertically when you’re standing.

Foundation Training: Chronic lower back pain is a natural result to a modern lifestyle reliant upon extended periods of sitting as well as hunching over our smart phones. Foundation Training provides a series of exercises to strengthen the core muscles of our backs and hips in order to improve our postures and achieve pain relief.

Yoga Anatomy, Leslie Kaminoff: Yoga Anatomy investigates how specific muscles respond to the movements of the joints; how alterations of a pose can enhance or reduce effectiveness; and how the spine, breathing, and body position are all fundamentally linked.

The Anatomy Zone: A You Tube site with an exhaustive video catalog covering the anatomy of all the major bodily systems including the nervous, respiratory and cardiovascular systems.

The Key Muscles of Yoga, Vols. 1 & 2, Ray Long: With beautiful four-color, three-dimensional illustrations and concise explanations, Ray Long, a medical doctor, describes how the muscles, tendons and connective tissues all work together to support a wide range of yoga postures. Also check out his website and blog Bandha Yoga.

Teacher Resources

Yoga Teacher Central: A clearinghouse for yoga teachers with class plans and guidance related to managing classes of all sizes and how and when to offer verbal/physical adjustments to students.

Yoga Journal: This site offers everything related to yoga and meditation including a detailed library of posture instructions and videos.

In Pursuit of Yoga: Considerable confusion surrounds all of the terminology associated with the breath: chest breathing, belly breathing, diaphragmatic breathing??? Yoga teacher Danae Moore provides a clear explanation and visuals to help clear the air.

Breath Resources

Light on Pranayama, BKS Iyengar: Pranayama is derived from two Sanskrit words – Prana (life force) and Ayama (control). Therefore, in its broadest description, Prananyama would mean the control of the flow of life force. Iyengar’s classic reference covers a wide range of breathing techniques, the anatomy supporting the breath and the importance of the breath in yoga philosophy.

Science of Breath, Yogi Ramananda: Written over one hundred years ago, this slim tome contains a wealth of practical breathing exercises as well as philosophical insight. The simple techniques presented here can be used to treat a range of ailments including stress, depression, COPD and PTSD.

365 Breathing Zone: An online training course for the 365 Breathing technique, which can help its practitioners reduce stress through controlling how the autonomic nervous system adapts to change.

The Oxygen Advantage, Patrick McKeown: An increasing body of research indicates that many of us overbreathe, preventing our muscles from getting the oxygen they need and reducing our endurance. Professional athletes, asthma patients, and an increasing number of folks just looking ten pounds have used the easy to follow techniques included here.

Yoga and Mindfulness Experimental Research

Stress Reduction and Neuroscience

  • Effect of yoga regimen on lung functions including diffusion capacity in coronary artery disease patients: A randomized controlled study_Yadav_2015
  • Study of the effect of yoga training on diffusion capacity in chronic obstructive pulmonary disease patients: A controlled trial_Soni_2012
  • Social influences on neuroplasticty: stress and interventions to promote well-being_Davidson_2012
  • Motor, cognitive, and affective areas of the cerebral cortex influence the adrenal medulla_Dum_2016
  • Motor, cognitive, and affective areas of the cerebral cortex influence the adrenal medulla

Supporting Information_Dum_2016

  • Mindfulness practice leads to increases in regional brain gray matter density_Holzel_2011
  • Impact of mindfulness-based stress reduction training on intrinsic brain connectivity­_Kilpatrick_2011
  • Self-awareness, self-regulation, and self-transcendence (S-ART): a framework for understanding the neurobiological mechanisms of mindfulness_Vago_2012
  • Improving Executive Function and Its Neurobiological Mechanisms Through a Mindfulness-Based Intervention: Advances Within the Field of Developmental Neuroscience_Tang_2012
  • Increased default mode network connectivity associated with meditation_Jang_2011
  • Does mindfulness training improve cognitive abilities? A systematic review of neuropsychological findings_Chiesa_2011
  • Nasal Respiration Entrains Human Limbic Oscillations and Modulates Cognitive Function_Zelano_2016
  • The peptidergic control circuit for sighing_Li_2016

Yoga and Mindfulness in the Classroom

  • Improving Classroom Learning Environments by Cultivating Awareness and Resilience in Education (CARE): Results of a Randomized Controlled Trial_Jennings_2013
  • The Prosocial Classroom: Teacher Social and Emotional Competence in Relation to Student and Classroom Outcomes_Jennings_2009
  • Feasibility and preliminary outcomes of a yoga and mindfulness intervention for school teachers_Ancona_2014

Foundations – Posture, Breath, and Balance

Team Sun Wellness has produced tri-fold pamphlets on the foundations of Posture, Breath and Balance. If you’d like to order some, give us a shout! They can also be downloaded here:

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